You know I had been thinking about that reverential fear of God..

Humility, fear of God are linked

By Terry Pluto

I never like to hear God called “the man upstairs.''

I know that most people don't mean it as disrespect, but it sounds as if God has been reduced to a quirky uncle stuck in the attic looking at his old baseball cards from the 1966 season.

I don't know everything — or even most things — about God. But I do know that God is more than an old, drooling man with a sweet smile.

In fact, I fear God.

Not as a heavenly power who will zap me with lightning bolts or curse me with boils, burns and 1,000 frogs living in my bedroom.

I fear God because, as the Rev. Norm Douglas said, “He's God and we're not. He's the Creator, we're the creature.''

Douglas is the head of Heart-to-Heart Ministries, and he knows the Bible has much to say about fearing God. He also knows that many people grew up in churches where all they heard was to fear God in hellfire sermons.

Turn-or-burn preaching, as some call it.

“It's not meant as fearing God, who is just waiting for a reason to harm me,'' said Douglas. “It's respecting God, standing in awe of God. It's knowing that if I walk away from his commands, there will be consequences.''

Some people don't like to hear that, but it's common sense.

Consider the commandments that deal with not killing, not lying, not committing adultery, and not having a heart that covets and is envious. When we kill, have affairs, have a heart that is angry and resentful — it makes our life worse.

“I know God deepest in humility,'' said David Loar, pastor of Fairlawn-West United Church of Christ. “That runs counter to our culture that wants us to find ourselves and build up ourselves. That's how faith has become more about me than about God.''

It comes down to this question: Who really is in charge?

Most of us like to think: “No one tells me what to do.''

“For me, it's living on my knees,'' said Loar. “Which is a higher value for a Christian: humility or freedom? I believe it's humility. Yes, we want to be better people. But our purpose is to be devoted, humble servants of God.''

Loar then mentioned Proverbs 15:33: “The fear of the Lord teaches wisdom, and humility comes before honor.''

Being humble is not being a doormat. It's not doing everything you are asked. It's not being used, or turning yourself into a martyr.

It is finding out how God would have us live, and praying and learning from our mistakes. I went through a serious addiction to pornography. God delivered me, and I have been clean for more than eight years.

When I travel, the temptation is there. I always will battle it, but with God's power and grace, I have been winning. I have experienced God's forgiveness and hope. I have been given a tremendous marriage, a ministry, a better ability to cope with the mess that is everyday life.

I know that if I walk off the path of purity that God has set in front of me, all of that will disappear. God will not have done it to me. It will be the product of my own decisions.

The fear of that fall (and of God) helps me to live clean.

“We should live our life in the view of God,'' said Bill Mitchell, pastor of Abundant Grace Church in Hartville. “The activity of faith… makes the fear of the Lord real to the soul.''

It comes down to having enough faith in God to trust my life to following what he says. It's not always clear. But in many big issues, I can usually figure it out.

Cutting a corner in business cuts out a piece of my heart, because I know it's wrong. Doing anything to jeopardize my marriage does the same.

It's being humble enough to say, “Guys, I just can't go to that movie, I can't look at that stuff on the Internet.''

I'm not telling them what to do, I'm just saying I can't handle it. God and life have made that much clear to me. I've found that fear of the Lord means I can't live by my own rules, and it's being humble enough to admit it.

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1 Comment »

  1. Sam Said:

    Thanks for this perspective, missed you and your lovely bride today.

  2. luvkjv Said:

    Marvelous post! The pastor at Faith emphasized this idea a week or two ago: fearing God as being unwilling to disappoint Him, unwilling to grieve Him.


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